Australia scored a mighty double at the World Singles Champion of Champions in Adelaide last month, when Victorian state teammates Kylie Whitehead and Lee Schraner reached the pinnacle of their bowls careers.
About the event
This annual championship, first conducted in Australia at Moama in 2003, offers players the ultimate ‘rags to riches’ fairytale story – fact is, any club singles winner, anywhere in the world, can progress through at regional, state and national level to win a shot at a world title – a place in this competition is won out on the green without the necessity to curry favour with national selectors.
This year, a stellar field of forty-five contenders hailing from twenty-eight countries strove for the ultimate honour
at historic Adelaide Bowling Club in the South Australian capital at the 17th World Singles Champion of Champions. After commencing on October, 28 for seven days of competition, the event featured twenty- five men and twenty women in action on the pristine Adelaide greens.
Qualifying rounds were conducted continuously over the first five days, with semi-finals held on Saturday 2 November, followed by the men’s and women’s world finals on Sunday 3 November.
Article and image: World Bowls
Schraner, who was bronze medallist at last year’s championships, won all 14 starts at the Adelaide Bowling Club during the week to emerge as undisputed champion.
His opponent in the main event was Hong Kong China’s Tony Cheung, who defeated him in last year’s semi-finals. It was Cheung’s second successive silver medal in the event, having been runner-up to New Zealand’s Shannon McIlroy last year at St Johns Park.
To reach the final at the semi-finals, Cheung defeated Scotland’s Mark O’Hagan in a compelling encounter, while Schraner claimed the other final berth over England champion Louis Ridout in a masterclass of singles play.
Earlier in the day, Kylie Whitehead scored a dramatic come-from-behind victory in the women’s final when she recovered from a set and 7-1 down against New Zealand’s plucky Debbie White to clinch the sport’s ultimate honour.
Both champions, who topped their respective sections, started out shakily, with White surrendering a maximum four-count on the opening end of the first set.
However, from there on she outscored Kylie eighteen shots to four over the ensuing 13 ends. Then, for reasons known only to the gods of the game, when holding another good counter on the fifth end of the second set, the nuggety New Zealander proceeded to cut her own bowl out of the head to gift Whitehead three.
From there the 24-year-old Victorian, made every post a winner, taking the second set 9-8 and tiebreaker 2-1.
White, who topped her section, defeated England superstar Sophie Tolchard in their semi-final clash, while Whitehead outgunned Norfolk Island’s Shae Wilson in the corresponding eliminator.